This past weekend I officiated at a wedding in Lawrence, Kansas, home of the University of Kansas. It’s also the home of great despair, the football team, and great optimism, the basketball team. It’s also the location of a public school district that is facing a unique situation.
Like all public schools, it wants more money, and like most districts they are trying to find ways to cut costs. There was an interesting story in Sunday’s Lawrence Journal-World newspaper about how they dealing with the problem. Apparently the district had considered closing or consolidating some of the elementary schools in Lawrence. They decided to approach this decision, as you would expect of a university town, by doing research. They established a task force in 2011, and they hired a consulting firm that reported that new enrollment forecasts would increase over the next 5 years.
Based on this research the school board elected to not close or consolidate the schools in question. However, the projections were not accurate and the growth did not occur. The board president now says that in spite of the non-existent growth they are still not closing or consolidating schools. Which is like saying that even though the research was wrong we’re still going to believe it.
How many times have we seen biased or inaccurate research used to justified government decisions? Take, for example, global warming. Even though James Lovelock, the “scientist” behind the global warming scare, has admitted he was wrong we still have politicians claiming that things like hurricane Sandy which hit New Jersey and NYC was the result of global warming. They overlooked that from 1950 to 1980 there were 41 hurricanes that made landfall and between 1980 and 2010 only 18 made landfall. But facts didn’t stop some people like Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg from claiming climate change was the reason for Sandy. This has as much basis in fact as the Westboro Baptist Church’s claim that Sandy was God’s wrath for gay marriage.
Science is now going the way of politics where if you say a lie often enough people start believing it’s true. Just get some musician or actor to make the claim and truth is almost assured. We no longer look to facts instead we look at what we want. Just like in Lawrence where the facts show an actual reduction in enrollment but the facts are simply an inconvenient piece of information to be overlooked.